THE next phase of the realignment of the Borris Road in Portlaoise will cost €750,000, although this will not complete the works and residents affected by the construction have still not had all their concerns addressed by Laois County Council.
At the recent meeting of Portlaoise Town Council, Cllr Jerry Lodge called on the county council and the Department of Transport to ensure adequate funds are available this year to complete the works, in the interest of road safety for residents and pupils of the two nearby secondary schools. The councillor was informed that a grant of €750,000 has been allocated and the county council will assess how much work this will facilitate in 2013.
Cllr Lodge said he welcomed the news, as the road had been a source of inconvenience for a very long time. Cllr Caroline Dwane and Cllr Rotimi Adebari both said that any future works should be carried out during the school holidays, to minimise disruptions.
Cllr Willie Aird pointed out that the town council had previously requested for the county council to meet with residents of the Borris Rd to discuss their concerns, but this meeting has not yet been arranged.
Cllr Alan Hand also said he had written to the county council requesting a meeting, but he claimed that within the county council “people are hiding behind their desks”.
Town engineer, Farhan Nasiem told the councillors that during the first phase of the works residents were accommodated as much as possible and he said that once the council know exactly where the €750,000 is going to be spent they will meet with residents.
Mr Nasiem also said the next phase should cause a very minimum disturbance on the road, with only one or two weeks’ problems envisaged when the new road is joined up with the old.
Cllr Aird retorted that the first phase of the works were “the heavy end of the sledgehammer”, as just because the phase was completed did not mean that all the residents agreed with it.
“Four or five houses will be cul-de-saced and they’re there for 25 or 30 years. You’d like to be able to ask questions before work begins,” he said, adding that: “We have to be fair to people, they’re looking this meeting for at least six months.”
“Public consultation would be very valuable,” agreed Cllr Matthew Keegan.
The discussion closed with an agreement that the matter would be looked at before phase two begins.